|Publication number||US7487716 B2|
|Application number||US 10/911,304|
|Publication date||Feb 10, 2009|
|Filing date||Aug 4, 2004|
|Priority date||Feb 19, 2002|
|Also published as||US20050022676|
|Publication number||10911304, 911304, US 7487716 B2, US 7487716B2, US-B2-7487716, US7487716 B2, US7487716B2|
|Inventors||Phillip D. Swank, C. Philip Insisiengmay, David Farchione, Michael Lemke, B. Erich Rehm, Bill Hansen|
|Original Assignee||Alto-Shaam, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (45), Referenced by (17), Classifications (21), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/428,796 filed May 2, 2003, now abandoned which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/078,845, filed Feb. 19, 2002, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,608,288, the disclosures of each of which are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein.
The present invention relates generally to cooking implements, and in particular relates to rotisserie ovens.
Rotisserie ovens are traditionally used to cook raw meat and poultry product, such as chicken, duck, and the like inside a cooking chamber. In particular, a food product to be prepared is carried by a rotating spit assembly that brings the food product into communication with a radiating heat source that cooks, and in some cases browns, the outer surface of the food product.
Unfortunately, conventional rotisserie ovens suffer from several drawbacks. For instance, if the door to the cooking chamber is not sufficiently sealed, flavorful gasses may escape from the oven. Furthermore, conventional ovens allow condensation to accumulate on the interior surface of the glass door, thereby inhibiting a user's ability to visually inspect the food without opening the door. Additionally, conventional spit assemblies are difficult to disassemble for cleaning purposes. Moreover, conventional ovens do not provide a user-friendly method for removing grease produced during cooking, and additionally fail to provide a user-friendly method and apparatus for cleaning the cooking chamber upon completion of a food preparation sequence.
It has thus become desirable to provide a rotisserie oven that overcomes these deficiencies, and that further improves upon existing rotisserie ovens.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a rotisserie oven is provided for preparing cooked food product from a raw food product. The oven includes a cooking chamber defined by side walls joined at their outer ends to upper and lower walls. The cooking chamber defines at least one open end that is closed by a movable door assembly. A radiating heating system is disposed in the cooking chamber that receives an electrical current and produces radiating heat. A convection heat system is also disposed in the cooking chamber, and includes A) one ore more heating elements that produce heat in response to an electrical current, and B) a rotating fan that draws incoming air from the cooking chamber into the convection heat system, forces the air over the heating elements to become heated, and expels the heated air into the cooking chamber. The oven further includes a spit assembly including a pair of rotating discs rotatably attached proximal the side walls and carrying at least one spit configured to support a food product that is heated by the radiating heat source and the convection heat source.
The foregoing and other aspects of the invention will appear from the following description. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown by way of illustration, and not limitation, a preferred embodiment of the invention. Such embodiment does not necessarily represent the full scope of the invention, however, and reference must therefore be made to the claims herein for interpreting the scope of the invention.
Referring initially to
Walls 64 and 46 thus define the lateral boundaries of a cabinet 68 that contains control components (e.g., a microprocessor, not shown, or other suitable controller) of oven 40. In particular, cabinet 68 houses a control assembly (not shown) that controls various aspects of the oven 40, such as temperature control, cooking sequences, and cleaning functions as is described in more detail below. Cabinet 68 further houses a motor 74 (See
A front door assembly 54 is connected to the front wall 50, and a rear door assembly 56 is carried by the rear wall 52 that can both be opened and closed to provide access to cooking chamber 58. Front door assembly 54 includes a window assembly 55 that provides visible access to the cooking chamber 58, as will be described in more detail below. Rear door assembly 56 is preferably constructed in the manner described with respect to front door assembly 54. Oven 40 thus has a pass-through design as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,608,288, and thus may further be used in accordance with the methods described therein.
For instance, one such method of using an oven of the type having a heating cavity that utilizes cooking elements to produce a prepared food product from a raw food product, a chef-side access assembly including a first door for the insertion of raw food product into the cavity, and a server-side access assembly located remote from the chef-side access assembly and including a second door for the removal of prepared food product from the cavity, can include the step of first inserting raw food product into the cavity via the first door. Next, the cooking elements (preferably the rotisserie cooking elements, as are described in more detail below) are activated via controls 77. Next, indicator 81 is activated once the raw food product has been prepared. Finally, in response to indicator 81, the prepared food product can be removed from cooking chamber via the rear, server-side, door 56.
The rotisserie oven 40 can be mounted on top of a warming chamber 67 including a housing 70 of generally the same size and shape as housing 41, and an internal warming chamber (not shown) of generally the same size and shape of cooking chamber 58. Advantageously, the rotisserie oven 40 and warming chamber 67 may be stacked on top of each other. Ovens 40 and 72 are modular, such that oven 40 has rotisserie and/or convection heating components installed and warming chamber 72 may have a conductive heating systems installed that are configured to maintain the temperature of the food product that was prepared in the rotisserie oven. Oven 40 can alternatively be supported on, for instance, a kitchen floor directly via any suitable conventional a support assembly.
Spit assembly 82 includes a plurality of spits (collectively identified as 78) that span between side walls 46 and 48 of the cooking chamber 58. Specifically, spits 78 span between a pair of support discs 106 (one shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Each end 122 and 124 includes a semi-cylindrical connector 126 presenting a flange 133 defining a diameter greater than the diameter of shaft 120. Connector 126 further presents a flat engagement surface 128 downstream from flange 133. A pin 129 extends perpendicularly out from engagement surface 128 sized slightly less than the diameter of opening 117 formed in surface 116 of support disc 106. Engagement surface 128 is thus configured to mate with engagement surface 116 of support disc 106 as pin 129 is inserted into opening 117, thereby causing discs 106 to interlock with shaft 120 with respect to rotation.
A movable collar 135 is provided having an inner diameter sized to correspond to the diameter of shaft 120, and a counterbore 131 sized to correspond to the outer surface of the cylindrical joint formed between connector members 126 and 114. A washer 134 is provided at each end 122 and 124, and is disposed inwardly with respect to collar 135. During operation, once connector 126 is fastened to coupling 114, collar is slid over the resulting cylindrical joint to secure the connector 126 to the coupling 114. Flange 133 provides a stop for collar 135, thus ensuring that collar is properly positioned. When collar is fully engaged, a recess 132 circumferentially formed in shaft 120 is exposed. Washer 134 is slid into engagement with recess 132 to prevent connector 126 from sliding out of engagement with the joint during operation.
Referring also to
Referring now also to
Referring now to
Discs 106 define a plurality of spit mounting locations 158 circumferentially spaced about outer ring portion 108. Each mounting location 158 includes two pairs of apertures 160 designed to receive mounting pins 144. In particular, a first pair of apertures 160 includes first and second radially aligned apertures, respectively, while a second pair of apertures 160 includes tangentially aligned apertures.
The tangentially aligned apertures 160 are configured to receive mounting pins 144 of the dual-pronged ends of spits 138 and 146. Radially aligned apertures 160 are configured to receive mounting pins 144 of the single-pronged ends of spits 138 and 149. Advantageously, for larger food product, spit 138 may be orientated with the single mounting pin 144 of the pointed end 142 in the radially inner aperture 160 such that apex 144 points inwardly to position the food product away from the radiating heat elements, as will be described below. Alternatively, for smaller food product, mounting pin 144 of the pointed end 142 may be positioned in the radially inner aperture 162 such spit 138 is inverted and apex 142 faces outwardly, thereby positioning the food product closer to the radiating heat elements. Sufficient clearance exists such that one end of the spits 78 may be translated towards one of the discs 106 such that the mounting pin(s) 144 at the opposite end are removed from the corresponding disc 106. Accordingly, spits may be easily attached to and removed from assembly 82.
Instead, while discs 106 are coupled to output shaft 84 and bearing 136, respectively, in the manner described above, output shaft 84 includes a pulley 274 disposed outside of chamber 58. Pulley 274 supports a drive belt 278 that extends down to a pulley 280 mounted to the left end of a power transfer shaft 282 extending beneath lower wall 44. Pulleys 274 and 280 are vertically aligned. A second set of pulleys includes a pulley 284 connected to the right end of shaft 282 that is in vertical alignment with a pulley 285 extending through housing wall 48 and rotatably coupled to bearing 136 and, hence, the corresponding support disc 106. A driven belt 286 is connected between pulleys 284 and 285 such that rotation of shaft 282 causes disc 106 carried by the right side wall to rotate. Accordingly, both discs 106 (and remaining portions of spit assembly 270) are caused to rotate upon rotation of motor output shaft 84 without the need for a shaft to span between the discs 106 inside the cooking chamber 58.
The various systems of oven 40 will now be described with initial reference to
A cover 188 is hingedly mounted on the left side wall 64 and can be closed to the position illustrated in
With continuing reference to
Steam assembly 174 includes a conduit 213 carrying water from a conventional water source (not shown). Conduit extends through left side wall 64, and preferably through recessed region 173. Conduit 213 defines a distal outlet end 217 that disposed at hub 186 of fan 182. In particular, outlet end 217 is disposed within a water distributor 219 that surrounds hub 186. Distributor 219 includes a plurality of side walls 215 that define an open outer end 214 that receives water from conduit 213. A slot 216 extends through the interface between adjacent side walls 215. Accordingly, water entering the distributor 219 via conduit 213 is “slung” through slots 216 as fan 182 rotates. The expelled water then contacts the heating coil 180 to produce steam that is emitted into the cooking chamber 58 via gaps 192 and 193 under forces from fan blades 184. It has been found that the introduction of steam into a chamber increases the efficiency of grease removal. During operation, cover 188 can be closed over conduit 213 as illustrated in
As discussed above, conduit 213 can receive water from a waterline (e.g., faucet). Alternatively, referring now to
Referring now to
Radiation heat system 176 includes a plurality of rectangular ceramic discs 177 having grooves that at least partially enclose traditional resistive coils. In particular, the bottom of the coil (when positioned as installed in the cooking chamber 58) is essentially coated with a ceramic material which has been found to emit infrared heat that is less scattered compared to coils that are not embedded in ceramic. The food product is thus browned more uniformly than conventionally achieved. The coils are connected via electrical leads to the control, and emit heat upon an electrical current input. As described above, angled spit 138 may be positioned in the discs 106 in a desired orientation depending on the desired distance between heat system 176 and the outer surface of the food product.
Accordingly, heat is produced in response to the supply of electrical power to the coils, which is controlled via user inputs 77, in order to prepare food product rotating with spit assembly 82. Ceramic heaters 177 are preferably of the type commercially available from OGDEN Corp, located in Arlington Heights, Ill. or Chromalox, Inc. located in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The present invention recognizes that the heating systems 172 and 176 are rated commercially for a predetermined wattage output, as it is desirable to ensure the consistency of the food preparation process. Because the oven 40 may be used worldwide in electrical receptacles that deliver electrical currents having varying input voltage levels, the control 77 senses the input voltage and delivers electrical pulses to the heating systems 172 and 176 to regulate the effective voltage that is applied to the heating systems. Increased input voltage levels will cause the controller to reduce the pulse frequency, and vice versa. Accordingly, a consistent desired wattage output of the heating systems is advantageously maintained. The pulses may either be delivered independently to each heating system 172 or 176. Alternatively, a combined pulse may be sent to both heating systems 172 and 176. Furthermore, controller 77 is connected to motor 74 of spit assembly 82 via a DC motor that pulses power to motor 74 in response to a user input on the user controls 77, thus enabling the user to regulate the speed of spit rotation.
A pair of lighting systems 178 are both disposed in the upper wall 42 of cooking chamber 58 to illuminate cooking chamber 58 on demand. Lighting systems are positioned such that radiating heat system 176 is centrally disposed between the pair of lighting systems 178. Lighting systems 178 extend between side walls 64 and 48 and parallel to radiating heat system 176. Each lighting system 178 is disposed in a rectangular recess 194 that is formed in the upper wall 60 of cooking chamber 58. A pair of opposing sockets 205 extends into the recess 194. Advantageously, sockets 205 receive standard Edison Socket style of light bulbs 179 as well as more expensive Halogen bulbs. The recess 194 is closed at its bottom via a glass cover 206 that is hingedly connected to the lower edge on of the recess walls, and fastened to an opposing side wall via a latch 208. Accordingly, the glass cover 206 may be opened and closed as desired when bulbs 179 are to be replaced. Lighting systems 178 can be activated upon opening either door 54 or 56, or alternatively can be controlled via user inputs 77.
Advantageously, the bulbs 179 are disposed above the radiation heat source 176, and are thus not exposed to direct infrared heating. Furthermore, the recess 194 and glass cover 206 shield the bulbs 179 from the convection heat source 172. Accordingly, the bulbs 179 are not as susceptible to breakage as conventional designs whose bulbs are placed in the cooking chamber in the direct path of heat from the heat source. Furthermore, when bulbs of conventional ovens break during a food preparation sequence, the bulb particles become scattered on the food, which must therefore be discarded. In accordance with the preferred embodiment, if bulbs 179 were to somehow break, cover 206 would prevent the remnants from entering the cooking chamber 58, thereby preserving the food being prepared.
Referring now to
A plurality of magnets 225 is disposed in door frame 229. The magnets 225 are sensed at the housing 41 and communicated to the oven controller to automatically determine when the door 54 assembly is open. The magnets 225 further bond the door assembly 54 to the housing 41. A strip of silicon rubber or like sealant (not shown) can be applied to the front wall 50 of housing 41 around the opening to cooking chamber 58 in order to form a tight seal with the door assembly 54 to prevent leakage of flavored gasses from the cooking chamber 58.
As described above, insulated electrical wiring 221 is mounted at upper surface 42 within cooking chamber 58, and extends down towards door assembly. A temperature probe 234 is connected to the distal end of wiring 221 and is supported by a bracket 237 mounted onto the inner surface of pane 232. Accordingly, when door assembly 54 is opened, a user can insert probe 234 into the food product being cooked to measure the temperature of the food product, which can be displayed at user output 77. In accordance with the preferred embodiment, the oven controller is programmed to automatically measure and display the temperature of the sensor 79 to display the temperature inside cooking chamber 58 until the door assembly 54 is opened, at which point the control will display the temperature of probe 234. Of course, the user may change these default settings if desired.
As noted above, rear door assembly 56 can be constructed in the manner described with reference to front door assembly 54.
Referring now to
A valve 246 is disposed in the front surface 248 of the waste pan 244 at a location towards the base. The valve 246 provides a conduit that extends outwardly from the waste pan 244 and upwardly when it is desired to store the contents in the waste pan. Once it is desired to drain the waste pan, the valve 246 is rotated downwardly in the direction of Arrow B, thereby enabling fluid to flow through the valve 246 and into a conduit or a portable receptacle (not shown) for the removal of grease. The base of waste pan 244 may be angled downward towards valve 246 to force fluid to flow into the valve. Alternatively, oven 40 may include a grease removal system of the type described in U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/464,681, and further files as a U.S. utility patent application Apr. 22, 2004 entitled “Grease Collection System for Oven”, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by references.
Referring now to
A baffle plate 257 extends down from the upper wall of condensing box 253, and separates reservoir 263 into an intake section 267 and a vacuum section 269. Baffle plate 257 does not extend entirely through to the bottom wall 271 of condensing box 253. Accordingly, vacuum section 269 is in fluid communication with intake section 267. Reservoir 263 defines a drain 255 extending through bottom wall 271, which is sloped towards drain 255 to directed condensed liquid into drain 255. Drain 255 is connected an outlet tube 258 that extends through side wall 64 and delivers fluid to drain pan 242 or, alternatively, directly into waste pan 244.
During operation, incoming air 265 flows into intake channel 252 and eventually into condensing box 253. The temperature of condensing box may be regulated using any conventional refrigeration or cooling system in order to ensure that the incoming steam condenses into a liquid inside condensing box 253. A blower 260 may be mounted to vacuum section 269 in order to draw air from the cooking chamber 58 into vacuum section 267. Advantageously, baffle plate 257 prevents the incoming air 265 from flowing directly into blower 260 prior to moisture removal. Instead, the moisture in the incoming air 265 condenses as the air travels down through intake section 267 before traveling up through vacuum section 269. Air 265 can also condense while traveling up in the vacuum section 269 prior to being expelled from the oven by blower 260. The condensed fluid flows down into drain 258, through conduit 258, and ultimately into drain pan 242 or waste pan. The oven control can also sense the humidity level inside cooking chamber 58 and adjust the speed of blower 60 accordingly in order to maintain a desired humidity level. The reduced humidity level reduces condensation from accumulating on doors 54 and 56, and hence provides the user with improved visible access to the food product being prepared.
In accordance with an alternative embodiment, blower 260 can be eliminated, and inlet 252 can be sized sufficiently large to ensure that steam produced during cooking will naturally flow into condensing box 253. Furthermore, inlet 252 may be sloped upwards so as to enable a greater amount of steam (which flows upwards in chamber 58) to enter the humidity control module 250.
The above description has been that of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, and it will occur to those having ordinary skill in the art that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In order to apprise the public of the various embodiments that may fall in the scope of the present invention, the following claims are made.
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|U.S. Classification||99/421.00P, 99/476, 99/479, 219/400, 219/395, 219/411, 99/421.00H|
|International Classification||A47J39/00, F24C15/02, A47J37/04, A21B3/02, A21B1/22, A47J27/62|
|Cooperative Classification||F24C15/02, A47J27/62, A21B3/02, A47J37/041|
|European Classification||A47J37/04A, F24C15/02, A47J27/62, A21B3/02|
|May 26, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jul 27, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|May 10, 2016||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8